Kings XI Punjab reached a dead end in the Indian Premier League when it suffered a six–wicket defeat at the hands of a redoubtable Delhi Daredevils here on Saturday.
The stadium was overflowing but the audience was mostly left applauding the visiting side, which topped the league with 22 points. The result dashed Punjab's dream of a play-off berth as the team finished with 16 points.
Daredevils, which took the field without Virender Sehwag and Ross Taylor (both indisposed), had the substance to absorb their absence. Morne Morkel and Umesh Yadav bowled superbly and left the stage for David Warner to whip the Punjab attack in his inimitable style. Punjab may have posted a seemingly fighting score but the pitch had eased in the evening and Warner, 79off 44 balls, feasted on it.
Good work by coaches
The influence of the two bowling coaches, Eric Simons and T.A. Sekar, was quite apparent in Daredevils' performance in the afternoon. The toss was a huge advantage but the bowlers still had to hit the right length. They did not falter and left the Punjab innings bleeding with some telling strikes.
That Simons and Sekar work hard in the nets and on the board has proved to be a factor that has helped Daredevils in charting their domination in this edition of the IPL. There are specific roles for the bowlers. Some look to take wickets and some to stifle the run-flow. Daredevils continued to have faith in their fast bowlers and it was a rare occasion when a team had five of them.
With Morkel finding his rhythm straightaway and ‘man of the match' Yadav joining the hunt with an incisive spell, run-making became an onerous task. The bowlers had a plan and stuck to it. They looked to make early dents since Punjab's batting revolved a lot on how good a start Adam Gilchrist and Mandeep Singh provided.
Mandeep was exposed by Yadav's pace and swing. Gilchrist swung his bat but failed to connect well. This was the wicket that convinced Daredevils it had not faltered. The score soon read 14 for four as Paul Valthaty and David Hussey also attempted expansive shots only to court embarrassment.
Punjab earned a chance to fight through two good partnerships. Siddharth Chitnis and Azhar Mahmood added 57 runs for the fifth wicket and then Mahmood and Gurkeerat Singh took 45 runs off four overs in a fifth-wicket association.
The most exciting phase of Punjab's innings was an over by Andre Russell when he conceded 21 runs — 13 to Gurkeerat and two exquisite fours by Mahmood.
Russell proved expensive but the rest of the bowlers proved effective. Yadav was the pick as he made no compromise with his natural flair to bowl fast. Morkel was accurate too but picked his wickets in the latter spell after packing off Valthaty, who was recalled for this match after being sent home for non-performance. Chitnis played a few fluent shots and Mahmood some robust ones, the best being a flat six to square leg that left bowler Aaron stunned.
The Punjab bowlers wore a similar look when confronted by a rampaging Warner, who was hit on the helmet once by Harris but showed no trace of it when clouting Parwinder Awana. The muscular Aussie actually spared none and he was at his best when he tore into Awana and blasted him for three sixes and a four in an over.
Awana should have had him at 46 but Mandeep spilled the chance at deep square leg. The Punjab captain had challenged Warner with an attacking field and his fitting counter summed up the contest. Daredevils lived up to its reputation all the way.
Man-of-the-match Umesh Yadav later said “I was just trying to hit the right areas.
“When I did that there was swing and good carry. We just made use of that as much as we could. You have to think positively.”
Kings XI Punjab: A. Gilchrist c Aaron b Yadav 9 (12b, 2x4), Mandeep c Ojha b Yadav 0 (1b), P. Valthaty c Irfan b Morkel 2 (10b), D. Hussey c Irfan b Yadav 3 (6b), S. Chitnis c Irfan b Russell 38 (32b, 5x4, 1x6), A. Mahmood c Chand b Morkel 36 (38b, 4x4, 1x6), Gurkeerat b Morkel 26 (11b, 4x4, 1x6), P. Chawla b Morkel 1 (2b), R. Harris (not out) 15 (6b, 1x4, 1x6), Praveen Kumar (not out) 3 (2b); Extras (lb-1, w-7): 8; Total (for eight wkts. in 20 overs): 141.
Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Mandeep), 2-16 (Gilchrist), 3-18 (Valthaty), 4-20 (Hussey), 5-77 (Chitnis), 6-122 (Mahmood), 7-123 (Gurkeerat), 8-126 (Chawla).
Delhi Daredevils bowling: Morkel 4-0-20-4, Yadav 4-1-19-3, Aaron 4-0-25-0, Russell 4-0-51-1, Irfan 4-0-25-0.
Delhi Daredevils: U. Chand c Gilchrist b Mahmood 18 (24b, 2x6), D. Warner c Mandeep b Harris 79 (44b, 10x4, 4x6), Y. Venugopala Rao (not out) 21 (19b, 2x4, 1x6), Irfan c Mahmood b Harris 5 (7b, 1x4), M. Jayawardene c Hussey b Mahmood 8 (10b, 1x4), N. Ojha (not out) 5 (6b, 1x4); Extras (lb-2, w-7): 9; Total (for four wkts. in 18.2 overs): 145.
Fall of wickets: 1-82 (Chand), 2-109 (Warner), 3-117 (Irfan), 4-135 (Jayawardene).
Kings XI Punjab bowling: Praveen 4-0-33-0, Harris 4-0-19-2, Awana 3-0-40-0, Chawla 4-0-28-0, Mahmood 3.2-0-23-2.
Man-of-the-match: Umesh Yadav.
Keywords: IPL V